Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Snowy Getaway To Winterlude In Ottawa!

A sponsored hip + urban girl post.

Wendy and I have a big, fun announcement to make….

Skating on the Rideau Canal with The Amex Ambassador Team
We are thrilled to reveal that we have been chosen to be one of four Ambassadors for American Express Canada for 2012! Our first assignment? Fly to Ottawa for the weekend and report back from Winterlude. Amex has been a proud sponsor of Winterlude for the past seven years, and wanted us to experience all the unique culinary experiences Winterlude had to offer. So off we went via Porter Airlines for a snappy 27-minute flight to the nation’s capital where we were picked up and chauffeured to our central digs at the Westin Ottawa.

Once we were all settled in, the team hopped on a luxury coach bus for a gala at the Museum of Civilization with Chef Lynn Crawford! I told her in person how much I love her store in Toronto, Ruby Eats. This Winterlude kick-off dinner (above) included a four-course meal with wine pairings and access to a VIP viewing area for the opening night fireworks. We oohed and ahhhed into the dark winter sky, and all the locals said these fireworks were even better than the ones on Canada Day.

Dinner with our fellow Amex Ambassadors - Jen from She Does The City, Me, Catriona from Coco & Cowe, Tyrone from 1LoveTO

The gala is one of the many culinary experiences that are part of Taste of Winterlude, presented by The National Capital Commission (NCC) and American Express. Amex Cardmembers are also given Front of the Line access to ticket sales and reservations for Taste of Winterlude. For those who are unfamiliar, Winterlude is an annual festival that takes place in Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec, featuring an array of unique culinary experiences and fun winter activities.

Our second Taste of Winterlude night led us to The Courtyard Restaurant for a five-course Fire and Ice Dinner with wine pairings, complete with an outdoor Fire Weavers performance. Chef Michael Hay’s menu played on the fire and ice theme with dishes like ‘First Snow Scallops,’ Ice Wine and a 'Cold Smoking BBQ' (above).

Get Yourself to Winterlude! The winter festival is happening now until Feb. 20, and is an easy girls’ getaway or a romantic weekend in the snow. Hold hands with your besties and skate along the Rideau Canal, eat a Beaver Tail, see an ice-carving competition, slide down the ice slides and shop the cute stores in the Byward Market.

Make sure to stop in at the American Express Lounge – set up along the ice – for some free hot chocolate and some snaps of your experience in the Amex Photo Booth. Stay for a cooking demo from La Cite Collegiale, a local culinary school that made us tasty samples of quail right on the Rideau!

An Ottawa must-eat!
What We Love About Amex! Both Wendy and I have the Gold Rewards Card that we use religiously to earn points for our travel adventures. The first question people usually ask us is how we travel so much. This Card is one of our secret weapons. (Pssst! Each Amex Membership Reward point transfers at a 1:1 ratio for Aeroplan points.)

Tweet Me! Follow our adventures on Twitter @hipurbangirl and with the hashtag #AmexAmbassador. As American Express Ambassadors, we will be reporting from all sorts of interesting festivals, events, dinners and concerts as we bring you the Front of the Line experience.

To learn more, visit American Express Canada.

See more photos from our Winterlude adventure on our Facebook Page!


  1. I will be in Ottawa next month for work and I plan to get a Beaver Tail. I haven't had one in YEARS!

  2. Leesh, you will eat yourself into a sugar coma! I'll have a couple more fun posts coming about Ottawa over the next week. So many great gems in this city.